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Book Title

Without an Alphabet, Without a Face

Selected Poems
Author 1
Saadi Youssef; Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa
This Iraq will reach the ends of the graveyard.
It will bury its sons in open country
generation after generation,
and it will forgive its despot...
It will not be the Iraq that once held the name.
—from "A Vision"

Living his life in exile—a series of forced departures from numerous countries—Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef also writes outside the long-standing forms of traditional Arabic poetry. In the words of Salma Khadra, a critic of Arabic poetry, "Youssef's poetry abounds with the sights, smells, colors, and movement of life around him, depicting scenes of great familiarity and intimacy. This is a great achievement in the face of the rage and fury and technical complexities of much of the other poetry written by his contemporaries." Beautifully translated by Khaled Mattawa, Graywolf is proud to present this vital voice to the United States.

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The work of one of the major contemporary Arab poets is available in English for the first time in the United States

About the Author

Saadi  Youssef
Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He has published more than thirty books, including Nostalgia, My Enemy, and is considered one of the living masters of Arabic poetry. In 2012 he received the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Prize. He lives in London.
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Khaled  Mattawa
Credit: Khairy Shaban
Khaled Mattawa is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Tocqueville, and is the translator of nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry, including Saadi Youssef's Without an Alphabet, Without a Face.
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